Almost every Tuesday afternoon, Mrs. Herzog adopts the role of crossing guard as she escorts her third grade class across Harrison Ave. to the Sharon Care assisted living facility. The students spend 30 minutes each week showing off their reading skills and visiting with residents of the home. It’s a tradition that Herzog first started in her class 22 years ago, when she was the title 12 reading teacher at Fords Prairie. She took a little break, but for the past five years her classes have once again been enjoying the experience.
“The special connection between the generations cannot be overstated,” Herzog said. “Students who may not have grandparents develop relationships with senior citizens. Likewise, Residents of Sharon Care, who may not see younger children on a regular basis, develop relationships with the students, all while helping students with their reading and social skills.” It’s a win-win situation. The staff tries to match the same students with the same resident each week.
Students and residents alike look forward to the weekly visits. “I overheard a resident exclaim “Oh, the children are here!” to the other residents,” Herzog said of a recent visit. Her class even makes Christmas and Valentine’s Day cards for their friends. In return, Sharon Care has provided a party at the end of the year for students and residents to share cookies, punch, and prizes. “It is a truly wonderful experience for everyone involved,” Herzog said.